Shaved Ice and Snow Cones: Understanding the Differences

Shaved ice has a long and varied history, evolving into diverse and delightful forms across cultures. Known as Hawaiian shave ice in the United States, this delicacy offers a feather-light, fluffy texture that stands in delightful contrast to the crunchier snow cone. Both are enticingly icy and delectably sweet, but shaved ice tends to serve as the basis for global delicacies like raspado, bingsu and Italian ice.

Shaved ice and snow cones come alive with syrups and garnishes, making them not just a treat but also a canvas for culinary creativity. Explore this guide to delve into the differences between these two icy treats and discover some tantalising flavour suggestions.

What Sets Apart Shaved Ice from Crushed Ice?

A person creates shaved ice using a red KitchenAid stand mixer.

Compared to the crushed ice used in snow cones, shaved ice is fluffier and lighter. The texture of shaved ice resembles soft snow, offering a softer bite than the crunchier crushed ice in snow cones. Shaved ice's finely shaved texture makes it a perfect base for soaking up a wide array of flavours and toppings.

Is Shaved Ice As Crunchy As Snow Cones?

A hand grips a glass dish full of shaved ice, with a touch of red syrup added for flavour.

Shaved ice's consistency varies from the crunch of snow cones. It boasts of a fine, powdery consistency achieved by grating ice into thin sheets or powder. The consistency can vary based on the specific type of treat you're creating. Italian ice, made from frozen fruit juices, will feel more like sorbet, while raspado is based on frozen water doused in syrup. Crafting unique icy delights is a breeze with the KitchenAid® Shave Ice Attachment Make sophisticated shaved ice creations at home using your own luscious syrups, sauces, and toppings.

Is Hawaiian Shave Ice Different from Snow Cones?

A hand gently places mint leaves onto the surface of delicious shaved ice treats, which is coated in red syrup and accompanied by slices of fresh fruit."

The ice texture is the crucial distinguishing factor between Hawaiian shave ice and snow cones. Snow cones feature a crunchier, moulded crushed ice base, topped with sweet, flavoured syrups. In contrast, Hawaiian shave ice offers a fine, powdery ice texture. To prepare Hawaiian shaved ice, blend this snow-like ice with sugar or fruit-infused syrups. Toppings can include ice cream, mochi, fresh fruit, or even a "snow cap" of sweetened condensed milk.

Do Shaved Ice and Crushed Ice Have Different Flavours?

A person is seen drizzling orange fruit juice into two dishes filled with shaved ice.

Yes, snow cones generally feature vivid, fruit-flavoured syrups, whereas shave ice introduces a broader range of syrups, including spices, candy, ice cream, and fresh fruits. Shave ice desserts from various parts of the world boast of unique, locally-sourced ingredients. Desserts like Italian ice, Hawaiian shaved ice, baobing, kakigori, and raspados are all global variants of shaved ice. Traditional Italian ice has a sorbet-like consistency flavoured with seasonal fruit juices, while Japanese Kakigori often features melon or strawberry syrups with mochi toppings.Chinese and Taiwanese baobing is flavoured with a milky syrup mixture and topped with fresh fruit. Mexican raspados are typically covered in fruit syrup and may include spicy or tangy components like a tamarind straw.

How to Make Snow Cones at Home

You can easily create snow cones at home with crushed ice, sweet syrups, and an array of exciting toppings. Utilize water, sugar, and natural sweeteners like fruit juice or honey to craft your syrup. For crushing ice, a KitchenAid® blender or a KitchenAid® Food Processor would be ideal. With the KitchenAid® K150 3 Speed Ice Crushing Blender, you can simplify your icy treat-making process. With appliances like this blender that can crush ice in less than 10 seconds, you can whip up delectable delights in a snap.

How to Make Shaved Ice at Home?

A hand holds a clear glass bowl containing shaved ice in shades of red and orange, topped with fresh fruit and sprigs of mint leaves.

To create delightful shaved ice recipes at home, use an ice shaver to get that light and fluffy texture, then add your favourite syrups and toppings. As shaved ice requires a delicate, finely shaved texture, you'll need a dedicated appliance like an ice shaver. A blender will not achieve the thin sheets necessary for authentic shaved ice. With the KitchenAid® Shave Ice Attachment, you can effortlessly make light, fluffy shaved ice right at home using the power of your stand mixer*. You can produce over 1 pint (500mL) of finely shaved ice in just 60 seconds**. Freeze and shave a variety of recipes including water, juice, or milk. Then adorn your icy creation with a selection of syrups, sauces, and toppings. Take your shaved ice to the next level with homemade fruit syrups, luxurious liqueurs, caramel sauce, or any other delicious addition your heart desires.

*Sold separately.
**Excludes prep time, based on plain ice using fine blade.

Create Icy Delights with KitchenAid® Appliances

Whether you are looking to whip up a classic snow cone or want to experiment with an exotic shaved ice delicacy, KitchenAid appliances have got you covered. With our K150 3 Speed Ice Crushing Blender and Stand Mixer with a Shave Ice Attachment* , you can effortlessly bring your icy treat dreams to life.

*Sold separately.